I Tried This $10 Find to Get Rid of Garlic and Onion Smells on My Hands, and It Really Works

published Mar 13, 2024
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someone is chopping onions on a cutting board
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

I remember being so proud of chopping an onion for the first time at the age of 18. I learned from Rachael Ray, and think I did a fine job of it — as long as you ignore the fact that I wore lab goggles as a precaution against onion fumes. I didn’t cut my finger and the pieces were even, but I wasn’t prepared for the wave of grief I experienced when I brought my hand to my face. 

My hands smelled just like my grandmother’s. Now, would Bertie Fay love that the first thing I’ve written about her publicly is that her hands always smelled of onions? Probably not, but I ate incredible food every time I visited her, and the smell of onion reminds me of her love and care. That said, I think this fondness is unique to me, and walking around with onion-scented hands is probably not ideal. And even as years have passed, it is still a problem I’ve dealt with — until now. 

I found out that there’s a $10 chemical-free solution to this problem: Rub-a-Way Bar, a stainless steel odor absorber. Simply rub the bar on your hands, with or without water, and the odors transfer from your skin to the metal. Then toss the bar in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Reviewer Kathryn Park received the bar as a stocking stuffer and thought it was a “goofy gadget,” but writes, “Much to my surprise it worked fantastic!” After scanning through dozens of similarly enthusiastic reviews, I decided to try it myself. 

Credit: Meg Asby

I tried the Rub-a-Way Bar, and now I’m a believer. 

I chopped onions to pickle for a salad, then grabbed the bar to work its magic. When I yelled, “Oh my god,” my husband poked his head into the kitchen to see what was the matter and was understandably bemused when I responded, “Smell my hands!” It took maybe three seconds to remove the smell. I could not believe how well it worked. 

The Rub-a-Way bar eliminates any undesirable smell, from garlic to fish. It’s effortless to clean and has a lifetime guarantee. It even comes in different shapes, like a fish, garlic, or a miniature version. I have zero notes because this product is perfect. For only $10, I can go from kitchen prep to date night in seconds, and I never smell like onions. 

Luckily, I still have my grandmother’s hand-embroidered napkins to remember her by.